1.4 Million Americans Experience Traumatic Brain Injury Each Year

Brain Injury Awareness Month

Studies show that 1.4 million Americans will experience a traumatic brain injury (TBI) this year, leading to 275,000 hospitalizations and 52,000 deaths each year in the United States alone. These injuries may be mild to serious, and can lead to permanent mental damage and even death.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month, and Frazier Rehab Institute is working to increase awareness across the Commonwealth of the signs and symptoms of a brain injury.

“Traumatic brain injuries result from a bump, blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain,” said Darryl Kaelin, MD, Frazier Rehab Institute Medical Director, and Physical Medical and Rehabilitation Division Chief at University of Louisville Physicians. “They have become increasingly common in adults and children, so it’s important to understand how to determine if a person is at risk for, or suffering from, a head injury.”

There are many causes of TBI, with falls proving to be the most common. Falls disproportionately affect the youngest and oldest age groups. Other leading causes include an unintentional blunt trauma, like being hit by an object, and motor vehicle accidents.

TBIs are classified as mild, moderate or severe. Victims can display a wide variety of physical, cognitive and sensory symptoms, which can help classify the severity of the injury. About 75 percent of TBIs that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). Concussions can appear right away or days or months after the injury.

Adults or children experiencing a concussion typically display loss of consciousness for seconds to a few minutes, a state of being dazed or confused, headache, nausea or vomiting, drowsiness or difficulty sleeping, dizziness and loss of balance. These victims may also experience blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth or changes in the ability to smell. They can show signs of mood swings, depression or anxious behavior.

Severe to moderate brain injuries include symptoms such as loss of consciousness for several minutes to hours, severe headaches, repeated vomiting, convulsions or seizures, pupil dilation, fluids draining from the nose and eyes, weakness or numbness in fingers and toes and loss of coordination. Victims may display profound confusion, slurred speech, agitation or combativeness, and in extreme cases, they will become comatose.

Individuals with severe TBIs will likely require hospitalization. Severe TBIs can result in coma or amnesia after injury. These injuries can lead to death or lasting brain damage. Approximately 5.3 million Americans live with a TBI-related disability.

“Traumatic brain injuries can affect all aspects of the patient’s life, and the lives of their friends and family,” said Dr. Kaelin. “Disabilities that develop from traumatic brain injuries can inhibit the victim’s ability to drive, complete household tasks, maintain employment and even uphold relationships. Our goal is to provide customized treatment and help restore patients to their fullest potential of independence.”  

If you or someone in your care experiences a blow to the head, it is important to see a doctor right away. Do not wait for traumatic brain injury symptoms to occur.

If you or a loved one has a concussion or think you may, call the Frazier Rehab Brain Injury Program at 502.582.7476.

How to dine out successfully when trying to lose weight

How to dine out successfully when trying to lose weight

How to dine out successfully when trying to lose weight

It’s no secret that when you’re trying to lose weight or make healthier food choices, dining out can cause its fair share of temptations. From portion sizes to added ingredients, dessert options and peer pressure, it can be tough to navigate the dining experience and still feel in control.

The journey to healthier eating, however, doesn’t mean you have to forego an evening with friends or miss out on the new restaurant everyone is talking about. Instead, a little bit of planning and understanding common food traps can help you feel satisfied and still on track to reach your goal.

Below are a few tips to help you dine out successfully.

Dining Out Tips

First and foremost, don’t feel pressured to eat like everyone else. Other diners may order larger portions or unhealthy meals – don’t let that deter you or make you feel bad for choosing to eat healthy. Also, consider substituting side dishes. Instead of ordering the customary French fries or mashed potatoes with your meal, ask for a salad or steamed vegetables. Most restaurants offer these substitutions at no (or very little) additional cost.

A salad can be a great option, but sometimes the dressings and other sauces can turn a healthy meal into a not-so-healthy meal. When dining out, ask for these on the side. That way you can control the amount you consume or find a lighter alternative.

It’s also important to know how your food is prepared, and avoid foods that are fried. Choose dishes that are:

  • Grilled
  • Baked
  • Broiled
  • Roasted
  • Steamed
  • Stir-fried
  • Poached

These preparations are typically healthier options; and if the menu isn’t clear, ask your server how the dish is prepared before you order. Some menus also offer a “light” menu section.

Consider that most restaurant portions are two to three times what a serving should be and that many times when we receive a full portion, we’re tempted to clean our plate. One way to help stop that temptation is to order a smaller portion. If that’s not an option, ask for a to-go container at the beginning of the meal and put half of the meal away for later. Out of sight. Out of mind.

Finally, if you want to order an adult beverage, try a glass of red wine as a lower-calorie alternative to heavy beers and mixed drinks.

Conclusion

If you enjoy eating out, don’t let your weight loss goals keep you from enjoying that experience. There are different steps you can take to help you order from the menu with confidence, knowing that you’re still on track! Substituting side dishes, asking for lighter options and assessing portion sizes, are just a few ways you can dine out successfully.


By KentuckyOne Health Weight Loss Surgery

Find more weight loss articles like this one. If you’ve been considering weight loss surgery and would like to learn more about the options available and if it’s right for you, join us for one of our free weight loss surgery seminars.

Eight simple tricks to mindful eating

Eight simple tricks to mindful eating

Eating is such a significant part of our daily lives, yet it’s so easy to get disconnected from it. One moment our plates are full, and the next moment, they’re empty and we’ve hardly tasted or enjoyed one bite.

Practicing mindful eating can bring us awareness of our own actions, thoughts, feelings and motivations, plus insight into the roots of health and contentment. So what is mindful eating and how can we achieve it?

Below we explore what it means to eat more mindfully and steps you can take to help focus on your food.

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is having awareness of physical and psychological sensations associated with eating, which includes:

  • Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities available through food preparation and eating by respecting your own inner wisdom.
  • Choosing to eat food that is both pleasing to you and nourishing to your body by using all your senses to explore, savor and taste.
  • Learning to be aware of physical hunger and fullness cues to guide your decisions to begin eating and to stop eating.
  • Acknowledging responses to food without judgment – Someone who eats mindfully acknowledges that there is no right or wrong way to eat, but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food.

Tips to Eat More Mindfully

  1. Chew 25 times: There is reliable scientific data that extra chewing results in less overall food intake.
  2. Feed yourself with your non-dominant hand: Making things more difficult is a great way to force yourself to pay attention to what you’re doing. Start slow by just doing it for breakfast and snacks.
  3. Put your fork down between each bite: This is an excellent complement to the chewing habit. Setting your fork down forces you to focus on chewing your food rather than letting yourself mindlessly pick at your plate for your next bite.
  4. Tune in: Take your first bite with your eyes closed and tune into the sound of the bite and swallowing. This will help you to slow down as you consume your meals.
  5. Try to identify every ingredient in your meal: This is a great way to focus on the present moment.
  6. Put your food on a plate: This may sound obvious, but eating out of a bag is not practicing mindful eating. Get in the habit of placing small snacks on a plate before you eat them. This forces you to acknowledge exactly what and how much you will be eating.
  7. Sit at a table: This formalizes a dining experience, helping you draw attention to your food and eating habits.
  8. Eat in silence: Put away your phone and turn off the TV. Eat distraction free so that you can focus on the taste and smells of your meal.

By KentuckyOne Health Weight Loss & Surgery Associates

Other articles you may be interested in:

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Stroke [Infographic]

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Stroke [Infographic]

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Stroke [Infographic]

Do you know the warning signs of stroke?

Each year, more than 800,000 people in the United States experience a stroke. It’s important to recognize the symptoms of stroke early. If administered within the first three hours of symptom onset, FDA-approved clot buster drugs have shown to reduce long-term disability in many stroke patients.

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of a stroke:

  • Facial Drooping — Ask the individual to smile. Is one side of his or her face drooping downward?
  • Arms — Next, ask him or her to raise both arms and note whether one drifts downward.
  • Slurred or Strange Speech — Finally, ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Is it correct? Is his or her speech difficult to understand?
  • Time — If someone has these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Don’t put off medical attention, even if the symptoms disappear.

Approximately 80 percent of strokes are preventable, and making lifestyle  changes can help lower a person’s chances of having a stroke, including exercising regularly, quitting smoking, eating healthier, managing cholesterol and blood pressure, and managing atrial fibrillation.

View the infographic below to learn more about the signs and symptoms of stroke.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Stroke

If you would like more information on stroke, risk factors or treatment, schedule an appointment with a health care provider or learn more at KentuckyOne Health Stroke Care.

Low back pain: A physical therapist’s perspective

Low back pain: A physical therapist's perspective

Low back pain: A physical therapist’s perspective

When patients who are suffering from low back pain come to physical therapy for the first time, the two most frequently asked questions are, “Why was I referred to physical therapy when my MRI shows joint or disc abnormalities?” and “Don’t I need an MRI so you know what is going on?”

Both questions are very reasonable. After an MRI reveals a disc bulge or protrusion, many patients feel that a referral to a physical therapist is the equivalent of having your mechanic tell you to continue to drive your car and see if your flat tire improves. Frankly, both scenarios can feel ridiculous.

Thankfully, the human body is not like a car. Multiple studies in the last few years have shown that the farther a disc extrudes or protrudes, the more likely your body is to reabsorb the disc with time.(1,2) In other words, disc healing is a very real and normal occurrence.

MRI and X-ray Abnormalities

As we age, we can develop abnormalities that can be seen on MRI and X-ray. For example, in studies of patients without low back or neck complaints, about 30 percent of patients in their 20’s have disc bulging and degeneration.

The percent of abnormalities increases with age and by the time an individual is in his or her 80’s the prevalence of these abnormalities is greater than 80 percent.(3) Remember, these abnormalities are in patients without pain.

While there are times when surgery is needed to address low back pain, outcomes are significantly improved when abnormalities in imaging correspond with the expected complaints of the patient and positive clinical findings.

Watch the video below to learn more about how physical therapists can often treat lower back pain without surgery.

Low Back Pain Treatment

When developing a treatment plan for low back pain, it is important to realize that a one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate. In other words, some movements and treatments that help one patient may not be effective for treating your low back pain.

Research has shown that subgrouping patients based on their history and clinical findings improves outcomes.(4) We do this first by getting a good history of the patient’s symptoms, screening for potential red flags, assessing neurologic involvement (how is his or her sensation and strength), and then determining movement or directional preference.

Movement preference is part of a spine examination where you complete range-of-motion exercises in particular planes of movement to determine how these motions affect your pain sensitivity or symptom location. Once movement preference has been determined, evidence-based therapeutic exercise and manual therapy are used to reduce pain sensitivity and restore previous mobility.

After the first visit to physical therapy, you should have a better understanding of what movements or postures are affecting your pain and what you can do immediately to improve symptoms. In each subsequent visit, response to treatment is reassessed and joint mobilizations, manipulation, soft tissue mobilization, and other various manual techniques along with progressive therapeutic exercises are utilized to further decrease pain sensitivity and movement limitation.

While the time it takes for symptoms to resolve varies, most patients should be able to see a benefit in their pain with physical therapy after the first few visits.


Nelson Caudill

Nelson Caudill is a physical therapist with KentuckyOne Health.

  1. Zhong M, Liu JT, Jiang H, et al. Incidence of Spontaneous Resorption of Lumbar Disc Herniation: A Meta-Analysis. Pain Physician. 2017;20(1):E45-E52.
  2. Chiu CC, Chuang TY, Chang KH, Wu CH, Lin PW, Hsu WY. The probability of spontaneous regression of lumbar herniated disc: a systematic review. Clin Rehabil. 2015;29(2):184-95.
  3. Brinjikji W, Luetmer PH, Comstock B, et al. Systematic literature review of imaging features of spinal degeneration in asymptomatic populations. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 2015;36:811–6
  4. Fritz JM, Cleland JA, Childs JD. Subgrouping patients with low back pain: evolution of a classification approach to physical therapy. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2007;37(6):290-302.

Working your body for a better you

Working your body for a better you

Eat less. Move more. You might have heard this or seen this written at your doctor’s office. It does sound like a simple prescription for wellness, right? But we all know it’s easier said than done.

Busy lifestyles keep us from stopping at the gym, playing sports or even walking around the neighborhood. But research is telling us fitness activities are more important than ever for physical, mental and even emotional wellness. Making them a priority is possible with a little planning and thought.

Regular physical activity increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life. For children and adolescents, it improves muscular fitness, bone health and heart health. For adults it can help with sleep, lower the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. Being active also helps with emotional and mental health, by helping to manage depression and anxiety.

Here are some ways you can make “moving more” a fun part of your life.

For families:

  • Consider making a charity 5K walk part of your family’s next holiday or summer plans before heading for the cookout or family meal. Everyone can participate at their own pace without pressure and get some steps in while having fun.
  • While your child plays soccer or basketball, don’t pick up that cell phone and scroll Facebook. Use that time for a mini-workout by walking the perimeter of the field or court during practices or games.
  • Explore the outdoors by visiting a state park or hiking area. Most offer trails of varying lengths and family-friendly options. To make it more fun for kids, let them participate in picking the location or trail.
  • Make it a new habit to go for a group bike ride or dog-walking after dinner.

Just for you:

  • Finding an exercise buddy increases your chances of showing up for regular exercise, whether it’s at the gym or walking in the park or your own neighborhood. Having someone to chat with while you walk or work out makes it a social outing as well.
  • You’re not too old to play sports. Dust off your racket and join a tennis league or sign up for a volleyball team. You don’t have to be good; just have fun moving your body.
  • Instead of meeting a friend for dinner or drinks, meet at the park for a catchup session. Dinner can wait for a bit.
  • Replace a coffee or lunch break with an outdoor walk or walk a few flights of stairs to get your heart pumping.
  • Swim at your local recreation center. Instead of just sunbathing or watching the kids play, walk the length of the pool in the shallow end back and forth a few times for a light resistance workout.

Ways to be active are only limited by your imagination. Health benefits abound for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, but be sure to consult your doctor if you haven’t been active in a while. Start slowly and build up.

A common mistake some people make is to take an all-or-none approach and fail by putting too much pressure on themselves. Don’t try to work out five days a week if you are just starting or getting back into physical activity; you’ll burn out or get injured. Remember, even a little activity is better than none.

With just little changes in your lifestyle and attitude, you can reap big health benefits from being active. If you think about it, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Looking for a great family-friendly event that gets you moving and also helps you give back to your local community? Sign up for the Yes, Mamm! 5K. Learn more about the race and then register today!

A few goals to help keep your weight loss on track

A few goals to help keep your weight loss on track

Are you considering or have you undergone weight loss surgery? If so, then it’s likely you’ve thought about personal milestones or goals you would like to achieve on your journey to living a healthier you.

During our bariatric support groups, we often talk about realistic goals and tips as we cheer each other on during this life changing experience. Below are a few goals that will have you thinking beyond the number on the scale and directly impact your health!

Eat Enough Protein

When it comes to your diet, Rule #1 is “eating enough protein.” Eating a diet rich in protein can help reduce hunger, improve your immune system and build strength. Your provider or dietitian can work with you to determine how much protein you should consume daily. Even if your bariatric surgery is long behind you, it’s a good idea to be aware of your protein intake to be sure you’re reaching your daily goal.

Drink More Fluids

Lose more weight, stay fuller and prevent dehydration fatigue and headaches by getting enough fluids. The goal for most adults is to drink at least 64 ounces of water, or rather fluids, each day. If you find yourself struggling to reach this goal, here are a few tips:

  • Create a visual reminder of how close you are to reaching your daily goal by filling up four, 16-ounce water bottles (or a 64-ounce pitcher) and make sure you finish them by the end of the day.
  • Get high-tech and set up a hydration reminder that syncs to your smartphone.
  • If plain water is too boring, try adding lemon or mint for a little flavor without the added sugar. Low-calorie flavored water, decaf tea and coffee can also be good choices when it comes to reaching your 64-ounces-a-day goal.

Find a Friend

Make it one of your goals to not go it alone. A friend can provide that extra encouragement and motivation that we all need some days. If one friend is good, more friends are better – the more the merrier when it comes to finding help and support with eating right, exercising and reducing stress.

Go to the Doctor

If you are considering weight loss surgery, it’s easy to see why going to a doctor is necessary. But you shouldn’t only be scheduling an appointment with your surgeon. Whether pre-op or post-op, seeing your primary care provider and any other of your regular doctors can help you get healthy and stay healthy. By routinely going to your doctor, you can actively monitor important health and wellness measures, like blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Together with your physician, you can also create action plans for any other conditions, such as knee pain or sleep apnea.

Take Your Vitamins

There is no substitute for a healthy diet, but a healthy diet is not always enough. If you’ve had weight loss surgery, a multivitamin may be part of your daily routine. Talk to your surgeon or doctor about any vitamins you should take and then be sure to take them as recommended to prevent nutritional deficiencies. Remember, staying nourished can also help you lose weight by keeping up your energy levels and metabolism.

Smile

And finally, make it a goal to smile more. Smile when you greet people. Smile when you say goodbye. Smile when you are talking and listening. Smile for no reason at all. Why? Because the very act of smiling can help convince your mind that you are happier. Plus, smiling at other people will make them more likely to be friendly to you, which in turn will make you happier. All that extra happiness can make it easier to do your daily duties, like eating right and working out!


Jessica Gies

Jessica is a registered dietitian with KentuckyOne Health Weight Loss & Surgery Associates.

Learn More About Irregular Heartbeat [Infographic]

Learn More About Irregular Heartbeat [Inforgraphic]

Learn More About Irregular Heartbeat [Inforgraphic]

Heart arrhythmias occur when there is a change to the normal sequence of electrical impulses that coordinate heartbeats. This can result in the heart beating too fast, too slow or irregularly, which can affect whether blood is being pumped effectively within the body.

Learn more about the symptoms and risk factors of heart arrhythmia below. If you begin experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

Colon Cancer Risk Factors and Warning Signs

If you are experiencing an irregular heartbeat or palpitations, schedule an appointment with a health care provider or learn more about available health screenings

Five Bariatric Surgery Myths and Realities

Five Bariatric Surgery Myths and Realities

If you’re struggling with your weight and related conditions, it’s likely that you’ve tried just about everything. While bariatric surgery is not a quick fix, it can be part of a plan to help you achieve significant weight loss and start living a healthier life.

As you explore your options, including weight loss surgery, it’s important to keep track of any questions you may have. That way, once you meet with your provider or bariatric surgeon you can be sure to have this list as a reference to discuss any information or concerns you have before making a decision.

There is an abundance of information out there regarding bariatric surgery, including some misconceptions. We’ve put together a list of some of the more common myths about bariatric surgery and what you can really expect below.

Myth 1: Weight loss surgery prevents you from regaining weight.

Not true. Most patients are successful in maintaining their weight loss one to two years after their surgery, however, it is possible to regain the weight you’ve lost. Weight loss surgery works in conjunction with healthy lifestyle changes. Your provider will discuss the necessary lifestyle changes you may need to make following your surgery.

Myth 2: Weight loss surgery is a cop-out.

Also not true. Most people undergoing bariatric surgery have tried every diet and pill out there. And while diet and exercise will benefit someone who is severely obese, it may just not be enough for others. Undergoing a weight loss procedure is a tool to help you lose weight. In order to lose weight and keep it off, dietary changes and regular exercise regimens will need to become part of your lifestyle.

Myth 3: After surgery, I won’t need to change my lifestyle.

Weight loss surgery is not a cure for obesity. If you do not change your lifestyle and return to old habits, you will regain weight and experience a relapse in your obesity-related condition. You don’t have to become a marathon runner who adapts a vegan lifestyle, however, your provider will work with you to determine any dietary restrictions and exercise needed to maintain success.

Myth 4: The surgery guarantees weight loss after recovery.

Nothing in life is guaranteed. Within the first few months following weight loss surgery, it is common to see more pounds dropping each month. After those initial few months, it becomes a slower weight loss, which is normal. Keep in mind that weight loss will depend on your ability to make the best choices possible and live a healthier lifestyle.

Myth 5: You do not have to go for follow-up care.

The first few weeks after weight loss surgery are crucial, and you need to be diligent about making it to your follow-up appointments. These appointments allow your health care provider to monitor your healing and advance your diet safely. A year after surgery, follow-ups depend on how you’re doing, but checking in with your provider helps ensure that your progress is monitored and any issues or questions you have can be addressed.

If you are interested in learning more about bariatric surgery, join us for a free informational seminar. A board-certified surgeon will explore a full range of weight loss surgery solutions, and answer any questions to help you make the right decision for your life. Call 502.513.6026 or fill out the quick online form to register for an upcoming seminar near you.

How to Ease Pain Caused by Varicose Veins

How to Ease Pain Caused by Varicose Veins

If you have varicose veins, you’re not alone. According to the American Society for Vascular Surgery, more than 20 million Americans are affected by raised and enlarged veins, which most often occur in the legs or feet.

Our veins have tiny valves that work to circulate our blood, carrying it from the rest of our body to our heart. When these one-way valves quit working or are weakened, blood doesn’t flow as it should and pressure beings to build from the blood collecting in the legs.

For some, the resulting varicose veins may only be a cosmetic concern, but for others they could indicate a more serious problem and require treatment. It’s important to speak with your doctor about any concerns that you have regarding varicose veins. Your doctor can check for common symptoms, like swelling, sores, skin discoloration or tenderness, to make a diagnosis and discuss a treatment plan, if necessary.

If you are experiencing large bulging veins, there are some simple lifestyle changes you can try to minimize discomfort. Here are four at-home therapies that may help ease pain associated with varicose veins or prevent them from getting worse.

  1. Exercise

Exercise has a number of health benefits, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that getting your blood pumping can be good for your vein health too. Low-impact exercises that get you moving but don’t put additional stress on your veins can help minimize symptoms by promoting blood flow.

Walking and bicycling can be great options to help relieve pain and discomfort from swollen veins. You should consult your doctor before starting a new workout routine. Some exercises can be counterproductive to vein health and your health care provider can help determine what’s safe and effective for you.

  1. Compression Stockings

Your doctor may recommend compression stockings – a special type of hosiery that applies pressure to your lower legs. Wearing compression stockings compresses the surface veins in your legs, which encourages circulation and blood flow from the legs and feet to the heart. Compression stockings vary in strength, size, brand and type and can be purchased online or at a pharmacy.

  1. Elevating Your Legs

Our veins are having to work against gravity – pumping blood back up from our legs to our heart. Elevating your legs, however, works with gravity to help encourage blood flow and alleviate pressure. Less pressure can mean less pain and much needed rest for your veins and body.

  1. Over-the-counter Medication

Over-the-counter medication might be recommended to manage discomfort. Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen may help. But if you notice any issues with your varicose veins or symptoms become too painful, treatment may be needed. Varicose vein treatments can include laser surgery, sclerotherapy and catheter-assisted procedures.

If you are experiencing pain from varicose veins, speak with your health care provider. Your health care provider can provide additional information on available options and determine if treatment may be necessary. Making a few lifestyle adjustments, like adding low-intensity exercise to your day and remembering to elevate your feet, can be conservative approaches to easing varicose vein pain.

Your primary care provider can help diagnose and manage a wide range of health issues, and refer you to a specialist when needed. Don’t wait to speak with your provider if you have any questions or concerns. If you need a primary care provider, find one near you today.